Dr. Hazen G. Kniffin Jr., retired psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, dies

Dr. Hazen G. Kniffin Jr., a retired psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who taught for years at the Baltimore-Washington Center for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, died of a stroke Wednesday at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson.

The Roland Park Place resident was 85.


"He was highly regarded," said Dr. Jay A. Phillips, a Baltimore psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who had been a friend and colleague for more than 40 years. "He was dedicated to his practice and had a deep devotion and empathy for his patients. He used his efforts to help them."

Hazen G. Kniffin — the "G" does not stand for anything, family members said — was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, the son of Hazen G. Kniffin Sr., a businessman, and Ruth Ports, a social worker.

He graduated in 1947 from Buchtel High School, and was a 1951 graduate of the University of Akron. He received a degree in psychiatry from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Dr. Kniffin completed a psychiatric internship at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and a residency at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University at Syracuse.

In 1961, he moved to Baltimore and took further psychoanalytic training at what was then the Baltimore-Washington Institute for Psychoanalysis.

He was chief of service at what is now Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital and later became acting director of psychiatry at the old Baltimore City Hospitals — now Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

Dr. Kniffin established a private practice in 1964 at 6 Eager St. in Mount Vernon and later moved to a professional building at 6301 N. Charles St. in the Woodbrook neighborhood of Baltimore County.

"He felt very privileged to help patients and directly their families," said his wife of 14 years, the former Nancy R. Norris, who directed the Master of Liberal Arts program at the Johns Hopkins University for many years and is currently a lecturer at Homewood.

"I met Dr. Kniffin when I began my psychiatric training in 1972. He was extremely warm and welcoming to me and was always glad to share his experiences and passion for psychiatry and applying it to our work," said Dr. Phillips.

"He involved me with the community and was generous," he said. "He was wonderful to be around."

Dr. Paul E. Roberts, a Baltimore psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, was another longtime friend and colleague.

"I have known Hazen for more than 50 years, so we go back quite a long way," said Dr. Roberts. "He was a scholar of psychiatric history and was devoted to his patients. He had so many talents. He was interested in politics and music, and had a very wry sense of humor."

In addition to his own practice. Dr. Kniffin taught for years at the Baltimore-Washington Center for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis.

He retired in 2014.


He had formerly lived in Owings Mills, at the Colonnade on West University Parkway and at Buckingham Manor in North Baltimore. Since 2013 he had been a resident of Roland Park Place.

He was an audiophile from his youth, with a deep interest in high-fidelity sound.

"His musical tastes were eclectic and ranged from pop to the Beatles to classical music," his wife said.

He enjoyed writing poems with a "whimsical side to them," said his wife. "They were narratives."

Dr. Kniffin was an accomplished artist who particularly liked to draw. He also enjoyed taking on home maintenance projects, his wife said.

A memorial service for Dr. Kniffin will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at the Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home, Overbrook and York roads, in Rodgers Forge.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Kniffin is survived by two sons, Eric Kniffin and Mark Kniffin, both of Boston; a daughter, Cassandra Arnold of Glen Arm; a stepdaughter, Beatrice Mowry of Annapolis; and five grandchildren. An earlier marriage to the former Ann Carolyn "Lynn" Bair ended in divorce. His second wife, Renata Maria Beeck, a former court psychiatrist, died in 2000.